Eighty Parishioners from St. Mary’s Catholic Church of National City Launch a Weekly Walking Group

St. Mary’s Catholic Church of National City kicked off a weekly Saturday morning walking group on February 23. Eighty people (and one dog) joined the one-mile walk, ranging in age from 8-85.

The partnership between St. Mary’s and the UC San Diego Faith-Based Wellness Team began with Olivewood Garden kitchenistas. Numerous kitchenistas attend St. Mary’s and wanted to make the church environment healthier. Through conversations with the kitchenistas and St. Mary’s staff and volunteers, St. Mary’s formed a wellness ministry in late 2018 with the motto, “Get Fit! Get Faith!” The wellness ministry planned a weekly walking group immediately following Saturday morning mass, beginning with a fun kick-off event! The kick-off was promoted through weekly bulletin blurbs, announcements during mass, and posters throughout the church.

The kick-off event on February 23 was a huge success! Church members registered before and after 8 am mass for the walk under a canopy with worship music playing. The lead pastor, Father Nemesio Sungcad, led a prayer before the walk and joined the walkers in a wellness ministry t-shirt. The young adult ministry, directed by Mark Villas, led the walk through Kimball Park, stopping to share the history of St. Mary’s school and church.

The walk concluded with a reception featuring fresh fruit and healthy snack donations. Participants were encouraged to join the walking group every week. The group was excited to walk every Saturday morning! The wellness ministry envisions monthly nutrition classes immediately following the walk in late spring and summer.

Special thanks to St. Mary’s parishioner Yola Marguilla and Faith-Based Wellness interns Isabella Gallardo and Micah Estanislao for their leadership and support of the wellness ministry and walking group kick-off. For program funding information, please see the Faith-Based Wellness Program.


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